the importance of laughter joy & love | adopted orphaned squirrel

Yesterday, i had the pleasure of finally getting a great workout with the local (central Pennsylvania) ultimate frisbee players. It was the first true ‘heavy breathing’ in fact, at times (gasping for air ‘-) aerobic workout that I’ve had in a while. That particularly happens when it’s just 5-on-5 or 3-on-3 players (as opposed to the standard 7 on 7) because then EVERYone has to run, no choice!

The best thing, is the fact that all these people not only put focused effort and great athletic skill towards their play, but there are smiles, laughter and constant humorous commentary the entire time. That to me is the best kind of socializing!

Here are some pictures demonstrating the adaptation of the adopted orphaned squirrel I named ‘Kiki’, along with more pics of wild life in the Keiter back yard. In this picture below, Kiki is soaking up sun on his private roof while a local adult squirrel is doing his thing, hanging out upside-down at the bird feeder. ‘-)) v_may_23_kiki_roof_thru_family_room

Here are the initial pics of the orphaned squirrel’s habitat. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/bu29s243dzdual4/hvsLf__12s
v_may_24_kiki_sunning_on_roof

I had been given instructions by a local veterinarian regarding how to feed and care for this little furry animal when it had been separated too soon from its mother.

I have a progression of photos from when it was really small and I had created a little nest of towels. baby_squirrel_fed_formula

To when I introduced his box to the outside near to the bird feeder where adult squirrels hang out, literally, to eat.
s_outdoor_1st_location

The really cool thing, is that he spontaneously discovered on his own this little high rise bird house, which still had remnants of twigs and a nest, very similar to those of squirrels.

s_outdoor_1st_location_2

Here are later pics, after the squirrel moved in on his own, to his new residence. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/u7aqpbh5bzdaubq/oixSRCJvMf#/

Kiki has been living there ever since. In fact, whereas the other local squirrels live in nests and tents, this little guy has his own private high-rise condominium; protecting him from the hail and thunder storms ‘-))

baby_squirrel_new_home_4

baby_squirrel_new_home

I’ve proceeded to still feed him, yet deliberately with less frequency, to let him learn how to forage.

May_6_feedingMay6_the_inevitable_lunge

u_May17_kiki_eyedropper_feed_bush

I’ve had to adapt to where he feels comfortable feeding, which sometimes becomes my hand.
u_May17_kikiban_eating_hand
Clearly, he has a perfect vantage point from his roof to see what the locals do; when not foraging for seeds on the ground under the bird feeder, they climb and hang upside-down to extract their favorites, sunflower seeds.
v_may_23_kiki_adult_squirrel_feeding

I also had the extreme pleasure of hanging out with 3 kittens yesterday; Ash, Smokey and Molly. Siblings, but each with very distinct looks and personalities. Watching them attentively for a few hours just had me beaming with smiles and my heart extending out to them. They are more entertaining than any ‘home entertainment system’. These kittens amuse themselves with simply every inanimate object they encounter; a rug, broom, match box, pen. They are simply ‘taken over’ and immersed in the spirit of interacting with, and ‘animating’ whatever object that draws their attention.

We really can learn a lot about love by observing animals – playful dogs and cats in particular; about their spirit of joy and capacity to be ‘in the moment’ and simply play!

Oh, i might as well include a link of pictures of emerging spring that I’ve taken over a period of time, and labeled in a sequence, from earlier-to-later progression.
k_May17_path_azalias_7
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/aqazws4c6f88qbc/Fu2107mVGr

Advertisements

| HaPPYness | Making the Best of What you Have |

Without doubt, a person may feel comfort, satisfaction and security through the material things they nestle around themselves; or delight in beholding beauty. But, these feelings aren’t happiness. And unequivocally, nothing is more precious than health. You may be able to drape yourself with jewels or own an array of the finest gadgets to play with, but if you are not at your best, mentally and physically, there’s no comparison. When you are healthy and fit, with an abundance of energy, strength and endurance, you more likely have the emotional strength to conquer just about anything. Once this is marred, a person may have to struggle to balance all other aspects of their existence. Yet, a person’s physical state of being doesn’t deliver happiness. There are those with excellent health who don’t realize the value of this treasure, until something goes wrong. A little discomfort or injury can quickly draw one’s attention to it, zapping energy and concentration. And there are others who have been afflicted with tremendous physical impairments, who yet move through their hurdles, to enjoy their lives. I think of my friend’s brother, who was paralyzed from the waste down in a ski accident. Less than 10 years later, he drives a van, chauffeuring people to the local ski area, goes skiing himself all day on specially made skis built to accommodate people who otherwise ride in wheel chairs, and then drives home, transporting other people, in a vehicle custom made in which the hands operate all of the controls. There are many other examples of people who survive and thrive. Certainly, none of these people are letting their disabilities devour their spirits. This is where the concept of ‘happiness’ comes in. Happiness has much more to do with our perception of a situation, than the situation itself.

In the Western world, we share in this culture of illusion. There’s a rift in the messages; coming from opposing worlds. One-upping your neighbor is a message delivered clearly from the perspective of advertisers in the commercial world. It’s all about what “I” can do, groomed through competition. And the old-world, pre-capitalistic point of view is coated with a spiritual identification with the “we” and ‘the brotherhood of man’. These religiously-dressed, pious messages are about ‘doing what is best for all’ and ‘giving back to society’. Yet, there’s a soaring gap between the ideal of ‘love thy neighbor’ and the road-rage resentment of what your neighbor ‘has’. These are confusing messages for anyone to decipher; ego driven vs. losing one’s ego. Is the ideal of joy to be derived through sharing and cooperation, or through the pride and gain in competition? It’s a bit schizophrenic.

Maybe happiness isn’t so complicated, as mentioned in one of my earlier blogs on the subject. According to the giggling guru and his ‘laughter yoga’, the process of smiling and laughing can in itself, actually affect the body; and fool a person into feeling better! https://digesthis.wordpress.com/category/happiness-2/ Through my process, I’ve learned that happiness, like many things, is not something a person is born with, but an attitude. It’s a point of view, which can be practiced and rehearsed. Like the option of, “looking at the glass as half full or half empty”. It’s a choice, you decide! We can all make the conscious commitment to think and act in ways that will boost our own feeling of well being. And since human beings as Homosapiens in the animal kingdom tend to be creatures of habit, we can learn new ways of perceiving things and reshape the ways that our brains process information, by rehearsing new ways of interpreting things.

The point is, we can all flow forward to a healthier and more balanced place through making the right choices and listening to messages that can pop up everywhere to guide us, if you’re open and willing to move in the direction of understanding and growth. I’ll be mentioning this process, synchrodestiny in my other blog on http://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/synchronicity-experiences-within-delight-of-deepak-chopras-seven-principles-of-synchrodestiny/ coming shortly.

I therefore can say from experience, happiness will NOT arrive if you remain in a job or relationship – with a boss, among colleagues, a partner, spouse, friends – if the repeated message from the other is negative and clearly in no way resonates with your own sense of what you know is right, supportive, in line with your understanding of events, awareness and sensibility. Listen to your own voice; trust your intuition, understanding and perceptions of what you know is true. Leave any situation, in which another person is not able or willing to recognize how they participate in the situation or acknowledge what they do. Don’t hang out with people who are not willing to take responsibility for their own behavior and who are not accountable for their actions. Don’t play with them, don’t have them as friends, don’t work for them and don’t vote for them!! 😉 Easier said than done!

Ultimately, happiness may be pretty simple. One aspect of it is to really make a point of appreciating the many things around you that are quite simple joys. Really, many of the things that we all worry about or get annoyed with, are quite relative. Having a broader grasp of the world, and of the hardships that many people suffer, is another thing. But to realize that life is so precious, and the fact that we are living creatures hurling around in space on a spinning ball with all sorts of fantastic life forms and creatures and beauty surrounding us, is really quite miraculous. There are so many very simple things to be dazzled with; whether involving the joy of motion, learning about something, listening to sound or observing light or life forms. Many of our perceived notions of not having some material thing, are way out of proportion. I personally find that a great deal of satisfaction and joy comes from the delight of observing little things, and from accomplishing little things. Learning a new task, practicing it and developing it, can be very satisfying. You will be surprised at the amount of delight and pride you will feel as you begin to see your own headway.

In fact, that’s the other half of my prescription 😉 the fact that happiness is not passive; not derived through being passively entertained or distracting yourself with something, but actually through engaging your mind and body in something that you are doing. It is in the process of this motion, as opposed to static, that causes the neurons of engaged interaction to start firing. Delight through immersion in the process, instead of the outcome. It is also through interacting with another person; in which their smile in response to yours, makes the experience that much more special. It’s in the process of actively participating in something intellectually, physically, emotionally or spiritually challenging, which renders the result that much more sweet.

What spawned me to write about this topic in the first place, was an article about how much dogs can influence people with joy and incite happy feelings. Dogs effectively cause people to calm down, feel more content and in fact feel happier. http://www.usaweekend.com/article/20120120/HOME05/301200007/How-dogs-spread-happiness Hanging out with dogs can trigger oxytocins, a mammalian hormone which is a neuromodulator in the brain. Oxytocin in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxytocin is referred to as the ‘love hormone’… “the inability to secrete oxytocin and feel empathy is linked to sociopathy, psychopathy, narcissism and general manipulativeness”. This chemical substance is released in our brains as we relate to dogs. Dogs raise peoples’ spirits. In the last years, there’s been a lot of talk and publicity about how the presence of dogs lower stress levels and induce faster rates of recovery for chronically ill patients of all ages. Basically, dogs lower blood pressure, are great companions, and because of the joy of their company, actually can induce healing and assuage discomfort. The wag of the tail is connected to a dog’s heart, and indirectly to peoples’ hearts – since it’s joy that is felt when people are engaging with dogs. Not to mention, people walking their dogs tend to interact more and engage with other people, thus eliciting more contact – a win-win!

Ironically, I found this little piece of paper on the desk in my mother’s hand writing, with a quote she’d copied long before I decided to write about this subject, “The happiest people do not have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything they have.” A friend recently posted an article from the Guardian which inspired him, “the Top Five Regrets of the Dying”. http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/feb/01/top-five-regrets-of-the-dying?fb=native&CMP=FBCNETTXT9038
# 5 is: I wish that I had let myself be happier; in which they write: “This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to themselves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”

“We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.” – Carlos Castaňeda

With love and joy to you all and hope that I’ve inspired some happiness!